WASHINGTON — The FBI told ABC News two years ago the U.S. may have already allowed in “dozens” of terrorists as refugees. The revelation came after two al-Qaida terrorists who were admitted as refugees and lived in Bowling Green, Ky., later said they attacked U.S. military personnel in Iraq.
“We are currently supporting dozens of current counter-terrorism investigations like that,” FBI Agent Gregory Carl, director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center, said in an ABC News interview at the time.
Last Friday’s terrorists attacks in Paris that left 129 dead and 352 injured revealed that one of the attackers fled Syria amid a flood of refugees into Greece. Alabama Republican Sen. [crscore]Jeff Sessions[/crscore] called the attacks a “game changer,” telling reporters Monday, “this country can see this type of thing happening here. We can see it’s a matter of mathematics.”
Sessions explained, “Within the refugee movement, if you’re not able to do a background check, vet the applicants, if you can’t do that, then you’re going to be admitting a number of people with terrorist tendencies. I’ve also seen that people who come out of that background become radicalized, even though they didn’t come here radicalized.”
In 2011, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan attempted to ship sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, explosives and money to Iraq to be used against U.S. troops.
Alwan applied for asylum and was allowed into the United States in 2009, three years after being arrested in Kirkuk, Iraq. At that time, he confessed on video during an interrogation that he was an insurgent, the U.S. military and FBI officials told ABC News.
Alwan was fingerprinted in 2007 when he was in Syria. That information was kept on a biometric database maintained by the U.S. military intelligence in Iraq, a U.S. official said, but according to another U.S. official, ABC News reported, fingerprints of Iraqis were regularly entered into the database and not linked to the insurgency. (RELATED: CNN Reporter To Obama: ‘Why Can’t We Take Out These Bastards?’
This is not the only example of individuals of refugee status who were charged or convicted of terrorist activities. In July, an Uzbek refugee was charged with supporting a terrorist organization.
In April 2014, a Moroccan national was arrested for planning to use toy planes to bomb a federal courthouse or a university. An Iraqi refugee living in Arizona was arrested for setting of a bomb outside a social security office in the town of Casa Grande. However, he was later convicted on only weapons a charge and sentenced to five years.
House Homeland Security Chairman [crscore]Michael McCaul[/crscore] proposed a bill this week requiring the administration to obtain congressional approval before allowing more refugees into the country.
“It also requires the Government Accountability Office to report on the vetting process and the security of it. It also allows for religiously persecuted minorities to get preferential treatment,” McCaul told The Daily Caller.
Arizona Republican Sen. [crscore]John McCain[/crscore], who appeared open to allowing Syrian refugees into the country, told reporters that the vetting process needs to be better before the refugees are allowed to enter the U.S.
“I think the whole vetting process has to be started all over,” McCain said.”They got to Europe. All those guys needed was a plane ticket to the United States.”
The Arizona Republican called Obama’s Monday speech “juvenile and totally defensive and the bottom line is what you can get from his remarks is failure — more of the same.”
“[The refugees] already been battered by this set of atrocities. are we going to compound that?” Dem. Virgnia Sen. [crscore]Tim Kaine[/crscore] told reporters. “Might there be a problem vetting someone — sure. Is the answer we are not going to take any Syrians at all?”
“I think some administration officials might have been candid in saying there are probably some people for whom it would be difficult to answer every question you would want to on the vetting side, but that doesn’t mean that no Syrians need apply,” he said, later comparing the present day Syrian refugees to the South Vietnamese refugees of the 1970s.